As I am writing this, it is a very cold January morning. It is somewhere around zero. Boy, am I glad for "global warming" or it might be even colder! :-)
Yes, all over the world there are reports of unusually cold weather. People living in places that hardly ever freeze are seeing their rivers become ice. Southern farmers that grow citrus are suffering the loss of those crops due to abnormally low temps for their area. Some people have even died of hypothermia, and it is feared more may die due to the arctic blasts that are hitting much of the nation. Around the world, similar reports are made of freakishly cold weather for their areas.
Long term weather forecasters are the most gutsy people in the world. They are sometimes right on the money, but other times they miss it by a mile! Shorter term predictions, on the other hand, are getting surprisingly more accurate. Those guys at the meteorological centers seem to have their craft fine tuned to the point that they can almost tell you what side of the street it will rain on and for how long. But even the short term forecasts aren't always accurate, as we have seen this year. Several times lately an "inch of snow" has turned into several inches of snow followed by several more inches of snow. I don't envy the job of the weather man. All the best tools of science at his disposal still set him up as an educated guesser.
We may try to guess or predict what the future holds, but just like the weather, things can happen that we didn't foresee. Only God knows the future, and with the exception of scriptural prophecy, He has not chosen to reveal it to us! We are to live in the present moment with certain unchanging principles that are to serve us in whatever times we may live. Honesty, courage, diligence, courtesy, faith, hope, and love work all the time! The winds of societal fads may blow, and the temperature of cultural acceptance of the gospel may be cold or hot, but Christians are called upon to be the one great constant as a witness to this world of the love of Christ. This means we have to be more of as thermostat than a thermometer. The mechanism for each of these is similar, but the thermometer only has a pointer attached to it. It reflects and records the temperature. It is passive. The thermostat, on the other hand, is attached to a great power source. When it sends the signal, the connection is made, and that power source kicks in to actually change the temperature of the air. Therefore, it is active!
Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? Both need to be in the air space to work, and both need to be sensitive to the environment. However, to affect needed change, one must be in tune with something more powerful. God alone knows the future and its needs. He alone can affect change. As believers, we are called upon not to reflect the world, but to change the world. As an individual believer, this means that I am to help bring God's power into play to affect my environment. The scriptures refer to this concept as being "salt" and "light".
The secret to effective Christian living is to stay in tune with God. We are affected by our environment, but we are not to be controlled by it. Instead, we are to partner with God to challenge the darkness with light, and bring some needed heat to a cold world. Let's be thermostats! Let's work together to warm people's hearts toward Christ.
"It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church going, hollow-hearted prosperity." Frederick D. Huntington, 1890(Did you notice the date...1890!)
"As any action or posture long continued will distort and disfigure the limbs; so the mind likewise is crippled and contracted by perpetual application to the same set of ideas." Samuel Johnson
"Our Father in heaven...help us to see that it is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail." Peter Marshall